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"This modification to our action plan is based on health concerns, not disruptive inmate behavior," BOP said in a statement.
The "Phase Five" changes are part of an ongoing action plan by the federal prison system to prioritize inmate health and reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 even as the virus threatens to spread in areas with tight confinement and inmate infections continue to rise.
Prisons are being encouraged to continue to offer inmates access to mental health treatment and educational programs "to the extent practicable," as well as commissary, laundry, showers, telephone, and Trust Fund Limited Inmate Computer System access all practiced in smaller groups.
BOP also said it would work with the United States Marshals Service "to significantly decrease incoming movement during this time."
Existing protocol from previous rollouts of the coronavirus action plan in prisons included additional health screening for incoming inmates and changes to federal guidelines granting early release to non-violent inmates, allowing them to serve out their sentences in home confinement.